by Matt Mead, BTT Rookie
I wake up Friday morning and go to work as usual. Race weekend is here. The plan is to get on the road Saturday morning by 8:00am and head to Stroudsburg, PA for the 70.3 Pocono Mountains. Race on Sunday morning at 7:00am and then turn around and drive back to Arlington, MA. The trip one-way is roughly 5 – 5.5 hours. Then late Friday afternoon I received an email from the 70.3 Pocono Mountains race director that they have CANCELLED the swim due to heavy rainfall they have been getting all week. The water level is over the crest and the current is strong so they decided the river was unsafe. SWIM CANCELLED. So the decision now is to spend 10 hours in the car for a bike/run. What would you do?
Here is my race report:
So now that you can see I decided not to make the trip to PA here is my race report from Sunday, October 2, 2011. I raced the 50.7 Concord.
I woke up at 5:45 and had my pre-race meal, bagels and cereal (Banana Nut Crunch). Grabbed my gear and was out the door. I was at Walden Pond at 6:55, the gate was closed. Called a friend who was meeting me and he was about 30 minutes behind still on RT 93 coming from the North End. The gate was opened around 7:05 and it started to rain so I setup my T1 and T2 in my car and got dressed for the swim. My buddy showed up around 7:30 and we headed to the beach after he set up his transitions.
It was pouring when we stared to swim, but the water was nice and like glass. The plan is to do a 1.2 mile perimeter swim around the Pond. We enter the water around 7:45 – 8:00, not sure exactly and the swim went well. No kicking, no goggles falling off, and no punches to the side of the head. Almost got hooked by a fisherman on the other side, but good thing he saw me because he stop casting and told me to swim on by. I apologized for my lack of sighting and swam on by. When I finished the perimeter swim I could see my buddy slowing down, so I started to swim a little further and did a short out and back to arrive at T1 at the same time. Total distance: 1.5 miles; Time: 0:45:57.
Swim to bike transition was the hardest transition I ever experienced. No one was there with my gear bag or to take my bike. There were just too many steps that I did not practice. Walk up the hill from the Pond, find my keys in the gear bag, unlock the car, get the bike out, change out of wetsuit and into rain bike gear, put all remaining gear in the car, lock the car, don’t forget the water bottles, wait for buddy, so on and so on. Time 0:17:14…awful.
The plan was to do the 56 mile Harvard Fruitlands Ride, but since we were roughly an hour behind schedule from the late start we decide (well I decided because I needed to get home) on the 32 mile Sherman’s Bridge Ride for those familiar with it. We were off and headed toward Concord Ctr. About halfway up Monument Street I was moving pretty good and the rain had stopped (but the roads were wet) and I never saw rain again….Awesome. I found myself solo for the majority of the ride, which was a great mental challenge. On my way back to Walden my buddy was not in sight so I decide to head down Baker Bridge Road to Sandy Pond Road to the intersection of Sandy Pond, Lincoln, and Bedford and then turn around and come back to add on some mileage. I experienced a lot of stops for cars, traffic lights, and one grooved section (motorcycles be careful sign) but over all a great course and good ride. Total distance: 36 miles; Time: 1:50:47, 19.5 mph avg
Bike to run transition was not as bad, but still stuff I should have practiced. A lot of same steps needed as in T1, but with different gear and process. After a pit stop at the Walden bathrooms I was onto the run, but then I saw my buddy in T2 so I decided to wait for him. Time: 0:12:39….not great, but better.
The plan for the run was a 6.55 mile out and back for 13.1 miles. I decided on the last 6.55 miles of the bike course (Sherman’s Bridge) that I just rode. We started out together and then I picked it up a little around mile 2 then I needed a bathroom. Was thinking of heading back to Walden, but then noticed some woods around mile 2.5 and jumped right in. After my short break I continued down RT 126 and took a right onto Sherman’s Bridge Road and saw my buddy. I caught up to him and we continued together for a little bit, but then we separated around mile 4.5 – 5 and I took a left on Water Row Road. I got to the 6.6 mile mark (according to my GPS watch) and turned around. A quick hello to my buddy and you look strong, then a conversation with a few dog walkers asking if we were racing since I had my BTT jersey race gear on, then I was alone again. Back onto RT 126 and the last 2 miles I could feel it. The course was tougher on the way back than I expected. I could feel the rolling hills, especially if you stay on the sidewalk paths rather than the road. Total distance: 13.2; Time 01:52:01, 8:29 pace.
Results…my 1st podium finish in my career. J
If you are interested in racing this new 50.7 series let me know.
On a serious note, I am still training anyway for IM AZ and have been riding out of Arlington or Walden on Saturdays and Sundays (schedule varies due to family commitments), but if anyone is still interested in riding let me know.